NAR figures need further revision: analysts

December 28, 2011 03:46PM

Earlier this month, the National Association of Realtors announced it would revise its existing home sales data for the last four years. But some critics, notably independent housing economist Thomas Lawler, said those revisions won’t fix the egregious errors the association has made in its calculations, and NAR needs to change its methodology, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Last week, NAR revised its figures by about 14 percent, indicating that far fewer previously occupied homes had sold than they knew of. Now, analysts are saying they are still wrong.

A spokesperson for NAR, said the association plans to publish revised estimates of home sales by state, on Feb. 9, but that it will not change which research methods it uses.

“Their revised estimates are better, but I’m not convinced they are all that much better,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics.

Lawler contends that local property records in California indicate that NAR’s numbers are at least 20 percent off. Lawler and others said that the census data NAR uses is less accurate than local property records. He points out, for example, that NAR’S reported 33 percent rise in condominium sales in the western U.S. seemS improbable. [WSJ]